In ‘A Brief History of Time’ (published in 1998) Professor Stephen Hawking was equivocal about the possibility of a Creator, stating that finding a complete theory of the universe would allow mankind to know the mind of G-d”.
But in his final book, “Brief Answers To The Big Questions,” which is published on Tuesday, the astrophysicist is clear. There is no G-d. Or an afterlife. And certainly no heaven. (By Sarah Knapton, “Stephen Hawking’s Final Book: ‘There is no God or Afterlife,’” The Telegraph, October 15, 2018.)
Some people think about their ultimate future. What happens after a person dies? Is there life after death? Can we know what is the ultimate purpose of our lives? Will we find out if there is a G-d? Do we have a soul or not? If we do, what will become of it? Is there justice for those who treated others unjustly? Why did we have to endure difficult challenges in life? Will we earn compensation for our acts of altruism?
Answers to these questions have been postulated throughout the ages by myriads of philosophers, religious thinkers, and spiritual seekers alike. Judaism offers a profound and comprehensive approach to life that literally spans eternity. And it’s not based on conjecture; it’s rooted in the Torah as G-d gave it to us on Mount Sinai, which was then further transmitted by the prophets, and is expressed in our daily prayers and recorded in the Talmud.
Individuals not familiar with Jewish thought may have misunderstandings of whether or not Judaism believes in an afterlife which lead to a myth that Judaism does not believe in the World to Come.
The Olami Resources Chaburah used materials from the Olami/NLE Morasha Syllabus module on Spirituality and Kabbalah to clarify the understanding of Jewish eschatology. This shiur is the third in a series of classes inspired by Rabbi Yehoshua Lewis, founder of Olami affiliate Mesorah NJ, addressing myths held by outsiders of Judaism.